Each year and Award of Excellence is presented at the AGM to a member that has shown outstanding efforts in promoting the goat industry in Alberta. We are very proud of these recipients.
Coombs - Tribute 2013 Convention
The Alberta Goat Breeders Association Board of Directors would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge a long time Director for her many years of dedicated service to the Alberta goat industry and the AGBA Board of Directors.
Myrna Coombs is a consummate professional and an invaluable asset to the AGBA Board of Directors as well as a model by which we may all guide ourselves.
Myrna and her husband Walter began with goats in approximately 1995 when they purchased their first Angora goats from Don and Helen Gladson, this soon led to her to purchasing her first Spanish goats in 1996 from Pat Fuhr from which she bred and raised beautiful quality animals.
Myrna initially became involved in the goat industry outside of the farm with the Edmonton Northlands FarmFair Goat Gala where she was a committee member and Chair for many years. She worked hard to establish a quality show which consistently showcased the best of Alberta's goat industry with a Canadian Goat Society sanctioned Angora show, Canadian Meat Goat Association sanctioned Boer and Percentage Boer show, Commercial show and Spanish show showcasing the cashmere goats. Myrna consistently showed well at Edmonton Northlands Goat Gala. I remember her surprise at winning best doe overall at Goat Gala one year, her pride was evident even if she did express her surprise with winning over the Boers. She had good reason to be proud, she worked hard to develop a quality strong herd. At shows it was common to see Walter showing their Llamas while Myrna was showing their goats at the same time and both always did well. It was a family affair with both their daughter and granddaughter assisting at the show for many years until the show discontinued in 2009.
Myrna became a Director on the Alberta Goat Breeders Association Board in 2004. As an AGBA director she made it her priority to establish and maintain a positive image of the AGBA on both a provincial and national scale. Provincially she was the AGBA representative for the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, ensuring the goat industry was front and centre in all funding discussions. Nationally she sat as the AGBA representative to the Canadian National Goat Federation and was the CNGF Chair for 3 years, keeping issues that are important to Alberta producers in the forefront as well as ensuring the Federation operated properly.
The AGBA has been her focus. She always ensured that we operate in a professional manner, following proper business procedure when emotions threaten to run high. Level headed and focused she is an excellent resource for advice and proper meeting procedure. She was always willing to attend and understands how to deal with government agencies, ensuring our presence while having the patience and knowledge to work on that level.
Additionally she is knowledgeable of the inner workings of the association bylaws ensuring proper procedure is followed so the association runs at it's potential. She maintains a professional work ethic and has always taken her position as a director seriously, maintaining a professional demeanour with members, government and board members. When she said she would take on a project she did so and there was no worry of it not being done. In just this past year alone she was the AGBA Vice Chair, CNGF Chair, ALMA Diversified Livestock Advisory Committee member, Public Relation and Government Liaison and additionally sitting as Chair of the Bylaw Revisions and Nominations Committee Chairs.
She was instrumental in the changes instituted by the AGBA Board when Jackie Dunham stepped down as the AGBA Secretary/Manager in 2011 and was a strong advocate for the new direction AGBA decided to move towards.
Along with her volunteer commitment she is a strong person and an excellent advocate to the membership. She has always offered guidance to new and existing members and would do whatever she could to help. All the while she maintained her own goat herd, farm and extended family.
With Walter's passing and her own health concerns Myrna has decided to retire from goats and step down from the board. Personally it is like losing a mentor as her example of how to deport oneself is one I have always strived to follow. Her guidance will be missed.
I am honoured to have worked with her for these many years and will continue to conduct myself by her example.
Thank you Myrna for your dedication.
AGBA Award of Excellence 2012
This year's deserving recipient is Laurie Fries.
Laurie is a long time AGBA member who raises Purebred Boer, Percentage and Commercial Breeding stock in the Edgerton area with her young family.
Laurie is deserving of recognition for her genuine passion for the Alberta goat industry. She is a consummate professional, as well as an invaluable asset to both the AGBA and the board of directors. As a director Laurie has been ardent about the growth of the association and the industry. She has a vision for the future and truly believes in the long term development of the industry. More importantly she is ready, willing and determined to make it happen. In this capacity she is heavily involved with The Bio-Security of Champions group and Farm Welfare Steering committee. Both these groups are made up of government personnel, veterinarians, university professional and animal industry groups that have a common concern on animal health and wellbeing in the province on Alberta. Laurie is dedicated to bringing the industry's voice to the discussion to insure goat producers are heard. She is also sits on the board and is the current secretary of the Canadian Meat Goat Association where she continues to highlight and address the issues affecting Western Canadian meat goat producers on a national level.
She demonstrates a professional work ethic and takes her position as a director of the AGBA seriously. When she takes on a project there is no concern that it will not be completed. She is not afraid to state her opinion and her determination to see the association develop has been in part the catalyst for the board's new direction.
Additionally her belief in the industry extends to support and encouragement of both new and current producers to the goat industry with knowledge and experience that she is willing to pass on. She tirelessly supports industry events when able especially every year at the Red Deer Westerner Goat Show where she demonstrates the quality of her farm's breeding program.
She accomplishes all this while managing work, a challenging family life with two small boys, a new baby girl and, we hope, her understanding and supportive husband Shay who is as committed as her to the industry.
She is an inspiration and an honour to work with on the board. We feel she truly exemplifies the spirit of the Award of Excellence and sincerely thank her for her commitment to the goat industry.
AGBA Award of Excellence 2011
Barry and Maureen Lewis are long time AGBA members who raise a well recognized herd of purebred Boer and percentage Boer goats in the Three Hills area.
The reason I feel Maureen and Barry are deserving of recognition is their genuine passion for the Alberta goat industry. They readily encourage and support new producers to the meat goat industry with unabashed warmth. They both go out of their way to provide both new and existing producers with guidance, encouragement and advice. Their humour and unique view of life is well known and has provided many producers a laugh when it was needed. Members needing advice or help are able to contact them at any time and even if they are unable to help both Barry and Maureen will do what they can to steer them in the right direction. Their ingenuity with their farm is also an encouragement to producers and they will pass on tips on what has worked for them thereby encouraging creative thinking in others.
An example of their encouragement is how for a few years Barry volunteered as the ring steward for the Junior show during the Westerner Goat Show. The children were always excited to see him and knew he was there to help guided them. Their comments were wonderful to hear.
Both Barry and Maureen devote much time to the improvement to the industry as
they are willing to take on projects they both believe strongly in. They can be counted on to support and volunteer for industry events and eagerly volunteer regularly during the Red Deer Westerner Goat Show along with other industry events whenever possible. They can be depended on to represent the industry whenever possible to the best of their abilities.
As a current director of the AGBA Maureen is not afraid to speak her opinion which allows for different views to be considered. Her enthusiasm for the industry cannot be doubted. An example is her work with this year's member survey and as co-chair of the Leduc AGBA seminar.
Barry and Maureen are well deserving of the Award of Excellence. They can bring
out a smile when one is needed most and that is no small talent.
~ Merna Gisler
AGBA Award of Excellence 2010
2010 AGBA Award of Excellence - John Henderson
The Award of Excellence was established to recognize those AGBA members who have demonstrated continued dedication and commitment to the Alberta goat industry through their own farm operations, work ethic and rapport with both AGBA members and the public at large.
John operates one of the largest, if not the largest, Angora herds in Canada and is recognized for the quality of his animals both in Canada and the United States. His herd is the ultimate example of the Angora breed with both award winning fibre and breed standards. His animals are routinely grand champion winners in any show he has entered for many years. However it is not just for the quality and dedication to his herd that John was chosen for this award; his dedication to the industry is inspiring. He believes promotion and support of the industry are of high importance. A prime example of his commitment was this past summer, he personally entered 40 Angora and LaMancha animals in the Red Deer Westerner Goat Classic so it would be possible to have a CGS sanctioned dairy and Angora show along with a commercial show. Over the course of three days he had to load animals, drive into Red Deer, unload, show his animals, load again and repeat several times for the sake of the show. As anyone who has shown angoras know they are not the most cooperative of animals and this was at a time when his health was not all the best either.
He is especially committed to the AGBA, having been both an AGBA member and on the board of directors for decades. He believes promotion of the industry as a whole is of major importance and is always willing to volunteer at the AGBA booth at the Red Deer Agri-Trade or the Red Deer Westerner. He has been a dedicated member of the Alberta Mohair Association since its inception until its imminent close and has been the AMPA representative to the Canadian National Goat Federation since that organization's inception as well. He has personally organized and held at his farm numerous Angora judging clinics over the years. On his farm he has been been a role model to other producers as he has supported and been enrolled on the national scrapie program and the ID tagging programs since they began. Additionally he promotes the whole goat industry when he participates in various events including the annual Red Deer County Drive, at the local farmers markets where he sells his products and he supplies goats for all types of events throughout Red Deer and Mountain View counties, including the animal displays at the Red Deer Westerner Little Red Barn, the Springbrock Museum and many others. Support and promotion of the industry to the public is important to John.
While all these are excellent examples of his dedication, it is his personal knowledge of goats and his willingness to support new and established goat producers that is impressive. He is someone to call when one needing advice and even his veterinarian has said if he cannot find an answer to a goat related health issue he will call John.
This past summer John hosted yet another CGS angora judges training course at his farm. Dr. Joe David Ross came up from Texas to instruct the course. One evening a local breeder brought over some Boer does and an information session for a small group of Boer/commercial breeders was held. Between the two of them there was over 100 years of goat raising experience (as they were both willing to point out they are a little up there in age); nowhere would you receive such an education as listening to the two of them. Their energy and enthusiasm was inspiring. What they did not know about goats probably is not worth knowing.
AGBA directors and members are honoured to work with John as both a board member of the AGBA and an Alberta goat producer. As a board member he is blunt and forthright, to put it mildly, but he keeps it real. As a producer, he represents the whole of the industry to the best of his abilities; goats are his passion as is the industry and he has passed on his passion to the next generation. Many have seen his granddaughter Dani at shows or events dragging or being dragged by one of her grandpa's goats and loving every minute of it. She is very much like her grandfather, what you see is what he is, no pretenses or attitude. You may not always agree with John and talking with him can be quite the education at the best of times but you cannot argue his determination and dedication.
AGBA Award of Excellence 2009
2009 AGBA Award of Excellence Recipient - Myrna Coombs
by Merna Gisler
I would like to announce Myrna Coombs as the winner of the Award of Excellence for 2009. Myrna Coombs is a consummate professional and an invaluable asset to the AGBA board of directors.
As an AGBA director, she has made it her priority to establish and maintain a positive image of the AGBA on both a provincial and national scale. Provincially she is the AGBA representative for ALMA, ensuring that the goat industry is front and centre in all funding discussions. Nationally she sits as the AGBA rep to the Canadian National Goat Federation, keeping issues that are important to Alberta producers in the forefront as well as ensuring they operate properly, at times a thankless job that no one was eager for, however Myrna took it on and, even with all her responsibilities, keeps her attention on the Federation.
The AGBA, however, is her focus. She ensures that we operate in a professional manner, following proper business procedure when emotions may run high. Level headed and focused, she is an excellent resource for advice and resources.
She is willing to attend and understands how to deal with government agencies, ensuring our presence on that level, while having the patience and knowledge of working with government.
Additionally, she is knowledgeable of the inner workings of the association bylaws, ensuring that proper procedure is followed so the association runs at its potential. She maintains a professional work ethic and takes her position as a director of the AGBA seriously, always maintaining a professional demeanor with members, government
and board members. When she says she will take on a project, she does so, and there is no worry of it not being done.
As I write this, I think it may sound as if she is impersonal but that is far from the case; along with her volunteer commitments she is a warm person and an excellent representative to the membership. She continually offers guidance to new and existing members and will do whatever she can to help, even when a member calls in the middle
of the night with a frantic question about an ill llama. All the while, she maintains her own herd, farm, and extended family.
I am honoured to work with her and continue to learn by her example.
AGBA Award of Excellence 2008
This year's recipient, Leila Cranswick, and her family do a wonderful job of promoting the goat industry in Alberta. She and her family frequently take time off from their jobs, lives, and own busy goat operation to bring animals to events to educate and promote goats to the general public. They have been participating in Calgary's Aggie Days for years and long before AGBA got so active with such events, would ask for the AGBA display every year to use at this event. Leila and her family have also been a part of Lethbridge Aggie Days for the past two years. With her goats, Leila has been on TV and have been featured in The Western Producer and local publications; she is always promoting the goat industry.
Leila is an active participant in goat shows both in Alberta and out-of-province, showcasing her breed and promoting goats to both the public and other goat breeders. In November 2007, she organized and hosted goat enthusiasts, judges, and directors from across Canada at the CGS Judges Licensing Clinic and AGM. This was a huge event to coordinate and she did a wonderful job. Her efforts really showed off Alberta's goat industry and impressed both the out-of-province visitors and Alberta goat producers.
Leila also promotes these wonderful animals to youth by leading a 4-H goat club and encouraging the kids to participate in shows and other learning opportunities. This year she had the Scouts, a home school group, and another school group on her farm to visit and learn.
Leila participates in annual classification of her dairy herd and maintains excellent herd health status, making her an exceptional example and role model for other breeders. She is always available to answer questions and offer her experience and guidance to those who are new to goats. Leila is a valuable resource for all aspects of the goat industry, with extensive knowledge in health management, and is always available to share her knowledge about the goat industry.
Leila was on the AGBA board of directors in 2001 and 2002 and she is currently serving on the AGBA board. She is also is the current Alberta representative to the Canadian Goat Society.
Leila is well deserving of this award for her enthusiasm and hard work promoting the Alberta goat industry.
The AGBA Award of Excellence is presented annually, at the annual general meeting, to an AGBA member who has made a significant contribution to the goat sector in Alberta, either recently or as an ongoing or lifetime achievement. Previous winners are Jackie Dunham, Bill and Teresa Cormack, Ray and Ann Marie Hauck, Jackie Toma, and Merna Gisler.